Revolut, Europe’s $5.5 billion digital bank, says losses tripled in 2019

Nikolay Storonsky, chief executive of Revolut, on stage at the MoneyConf fintech event in Lisbon, Portugal.

Seb Daly | Web Summit | Getty Images

British financial technology firm Revolut said its losses more than tripled in 2019, despite a surge in revenues and customer numbers.

The London-based start-up, which offers banking and trading services through an app, posted a total loss of £106.5 million ($139.6 million) for the year ending December 31, up from £32.9 million in 2018.

That was despite Revolut’s revenues climbing 180% to £162.7 million from the £58.2 million it reported in 2018. The company also nearly tripled its user base in 2019 to 10 million from 3.5 million a year earlier.

“While we still have some way to go, we are pleased with our progress in 2019,” Revolut founder and CEO Nik Storonsky said in a statement Tuesday.

“We increased daily active customers by 231% and the number of paying customers grew by 139%.”

Revolut blamed the mounting losses on its investment in international expansion and new product offerings. Last year, the firm launched a commission-free stock trading feature to take on incumbent online brokers like Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell. It’s also been pushing its app into new regions like the U.S., Singapore and Australia.

The company is one of Europe’s top fintech unicorns, having been privately valued at $5.5 billion in a $580 million funding round earlier this year. That puts it on par with Klarna and, which are also worth around $5.5 billion.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Revolut said momentum in its business hadn’t slowed. The start-up said it saw a decline in interchange revenue — the income it gets from fees generated every time a customer uses their card — but that products like cryptocurrency trading saw increased demand. It now has close to 13 million customers in total.

Martin Gilbert, the veteran asset manager who joined Revolut as its chairman last year, said: “Both 2019 and the first months of 2020 have been periods of significant achievement and expansion for Revolut, putting the company on a clear path to long-term sustainable growth.”

“Our continued growth and expansion during the pandemic has shown the resilience of our strategic plans and we are pleased that these plans are further endorsed by new investors.”

Gilbert is set to step down as chairman of asset management giant Aberdeen Standard Investments next month.

Unlike Monzo, which warned of doubts about its ability to continue as a “going concern” in its 2020 annual report, Revolut said it has “adequate resources to continue in operation for the foreseeable future.” Another rival challenger bank, Starling, made similar comments in its 2019 accounts and is even expecting to break even by year-end.